HORIZON BLOG: European R&D policy newsbytes

28 Sep 2023 | Live Blog

Horizon Europe is well underway, but the world of European R&D policy goes well beyond the confines of the €95.5 billion R&D programme. EU climate, digital, agriculture and regional policies all have significant research and innovation components. National governments often come up with new R&D policies, decide to fund new research avenues, and set up international cooperation deals. This blog aims to keep you informed on all of that and more.

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You can read the full archive of this blog here.


The contest is open to all cities in EU member states or in countries associated to Horizon Europe with a population of at least 50,000. Six prizes will be given out under the categories of ‘European Capital of Innovation’ and ‘Rising Innovative City’. 

The winner of the European Capital of Innovation will win €1 million. Last year, the award went to Aix-Marseille Provence metropole in southern France, while the Rising Innovative City award was won by Haarlem in the Netherlands. 

European research commissioner Mariya Gabriel said, “Cities play a key role in creating a supportive and inclusive ecosystem, where innovation is designed to benefit its citizens. [They are] a place where technology, innovation, learning and knowledge are fostered by bringing together different partners, from civil society and universities to local businesses, SMEs or start-ups.”

The call for applications is open until 29 June.


The budget for the Erasmus+ work programme has been raised to €4.43 billion for this year, following the Commission’s adoption of a revision today.

The budget for last year was just under €4 billion

The 2023 revised programme includes €100 million pulled from the 2027 budget, to help people fleeing the war in Ukraine, and educational organisations and staff remaining in the country. 

The total budget for Erasmus+ for 2021 - 2027 is €26.2 billion, with an additional €2.2 billion available through other EU instruments. 

The next Erasmus+ call for proposals, focusing on cooperation partnerships – particularly for students and staff in Ukraine – will open on 22 March. 


The Swiss state secretary for education and R&I Martina Hirayama met with the representatives of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) in Bern today to discuss open science. 

During the meeting, Hirayama emphasised Switzerland wants to play an active role in the European Research Area (ERA) and take part in efforts to move towards more open science. 

The EU and Switzerland have a long history of working together in R&I but for the past few years Switzerland has not been allowed to associate with the EU’s research programme Horizon Europe due to wider political disputes.  


EU R&I commissioner Mariya Gabriel opened the first European Female Founders Summit and called for continued support for women innovators on International Women’s Day. 

“Girls and women are still underrepresented in STEM fields and women-led companies have difficult access to venture capital”, said Gabriel. “This is not only a matter of equal opportunities. Closing the gender gap in STEM alone could lead to GDP growth of up to €820 billion by 2050.” 

The EU research programme Horizon Europe has around €2,6 billion in funding contributing to gender equality and asks applicants on all its calls to prove they have gender equality plans in place at their organisations. Under Horizon, the Commission also runs Women TechEU, a support, coaching and mentoring scheme for women-led start-ups. But the gender gap persists in Europe’s R&I ecosystem: last year women-led start-ups received just 2% of venture capital investment in Europe. 


The government this week approved the creation of the Spanish Space Agency, which will guide the country’s strategic action and investments in the field of space. 

The agency will have a budget of more than €700 million in its first year and a staff of 75 people to help the country develop more space technology and use it areas such as security, earth observation, geolocation or telecommunications. 

The move is part of the country’s revamped science law and accompanies a series of actions aimed at strengthening the Spanish space sector.  


The European Commission has announced that 301 regions and local authorities have signed the EU mission for adaptation to climate change.

The mission is funding projects worth €370 million from Horizon Europe for the 2021-2023 period. The research and innovation projects will help regions understand how to rebuild areas affected by extreme weather, create floodplains and explore climate resilient types of farming.

By signing the charter, regional and local authorities agree to cooperate and mobilise resources to reach their climate adaptation goals.


Ireland’s minister for higher education and research Simon Harris has announced €1.9 million in funding to advance the country’s action plan for open research, which is aimed at increasing public engagement with research and citizen science.

In addition, the open research action plan also aims to hep Ireland’s research sector to transition to full open access to research publications.

At the EU level, the European Commission is already requiring recipients of its research grants to publish results in open access publications.

More details about Ireland’s plan are available here.


The European Commission has published a code of practice for the management of intellectual assets and a code of practice on standardization.

The publication of the documents represents a step forward in implementing the Commission’s plan for knowledge valorisation announced in December. The Commission says the documents provide guidance for researchers and innovators on intellectual asset management and on how best to use the results for standardisation.

EU commissioner for research and innovation Mariya Gabriel said the codes of practice will enable the deployment of new technologies.  


EU member states have made a few tweaks to their upcoming conclusions on the state of scientific publishing, in the newest version of the draft document seen by Science|Business.  

The draft conclusions, to be signed off in the next couple of months, aim to ensure the scientific publishing industry is fair and sustainable as it edges towards a free-to-read model. 

In the newest reiteration of the draft text adds stronger references to research assessment reform, multilingualism and clarifies clauses on peer review.  

Find our latest story on the conclusions here


The Initiative for Science in Europe (ISE) is calling on EU policymakers to safeguard the budget of the European Research Council (ERC), the EU’s main science funder; and the academic exchange programme Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA).

In a paper submitted to the European Commission’s survey on the past and future of EU research and innovation programmes, ISE says both programmes are underfunded and “a significant number of submitted proposals which passed the threshold of excellence cannot be funded.”

According to the paper, the budget of the two programmes should be increased after 2027. In the meantime, for the remainder of Horizon Europe, their budget should be “shielded from any cut.”

The position paper is available here.


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